In the not-too-distant future, it would be the only part of the car you’d actually own. If it were the subject of a surrealist painting from 1929, it might feature the tagline, “Ceci n’est pas un volant,” the French word for steering wheel.
Jaguar calls it Sayer and says it’s the steering wheel of the future — the first voice-activated, artificial intelligence steering wheel that will be able to carry out hundreds of tasks and follow you from car to car.
“Imagine a future of autonomous, connected and electric cars where you don’t own a single car, but instead call upon the vehicle of your choice where and when you need it,” the company says. “That’s a future vision Jaguar Land Rover is exploring with Sayer, the connected steering wheel that could be the only part of the car you own.”
Automakers focused on developing autonomous vehicles have proposed doing away with pedals and steering wheels, but this is the first we’ve heard of that envisions the steering wheel, such as it is, as your veritable car keys in a self-driving, car-sharing world.
Jaguar says it could order up a ride to get you where you need to go on time, and it could even advise you when you might enjoy driving part of the journey yourself. No word on whether it can sync with a toaster for breakfast, however.
The concept device is named after Malcolm Sayer, a Jaguar designer from 1951 to 1970 who’s responsible for the E-Type and D-Type racer, which won the Le Mans 24-hour race three times in a row in the 1950s. It will feature on a Jaguar concept called Future-Type in 2040.
In the meantime, it will be unveiled at Tech Fest at Central St. Martins, University of the Arts London on Thursday, Sept. 7, as part of the automaker’s “Technology with Heart” presentation. The festival is free to the public Sept. 8-10.